Floral Park Rivals No Sweat for Win McCool

Sabine Stable's speedy homebred Win McCool, posting her first graded stakes win, shook loose of pace rival Pretty Imposing in upper stretch and held sway to the wire to win the $110,900 Floral Park Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Belmont Park Saturday.

A half-sister to millionaire Graeme Hall and grade I winner Harmony Lodge, the 3-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway  was overlooked at odds of 15-1. She cruised under the wire for Garrett Gomez 1 1/2 lengths in front of Great Intentions. The final time was 1:09 2/5 for the six furlongs on fast going.

Stormy Kiss, the second choice in the field of eight, finished 1 1/4 lengths farther back in third while 2-1 favorite Swap Fliparoo, two-length winner of the Darley Test (gr. I) in her most recent start, finished a non-threatening fourth.

Indian Flare, starting from the far outside in the field of nine for trainer Bobby Frankel, jumped at the start and failed to break with her rivals, losing all chance.

Pretty Imposing, 25-1, took the early lead but was under heavy pressure on the outside from Win McCool as they clicked off the opening quarter mile in :22. Win McCool led at the half (:44 2/5) and began to inch away coming off the turn to open up a clear advantage as Pretty Imposing tired in the stretch.

Great Intentions, with Edgar Prado aboard, made a race of it in the final eighth but was unable to make much headway on Win McCool, who won under steady urging from Gomez. Stormy Kiss, eschewing her usual front-running style, ran on for third under Javier Castellano. Swap Fliparoo made a mild move in the lane to finish fourth for Eibar Coa.

"Going six furlongs, I just couldn't get to them," said Coa.

The Kentucky-bred chestnut filly Win McCool just missed winning the seven-furlong Nassau Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Belmont in May, caught by a neck when second to Hello Liberty after leading by three at the furlong marker. She won her next start, a first-level allowance race at Belmont June 20, then ran a better than looked sixth after setting blazing fractions in the Prioress Breeders' Cup (gr. I) at Belmont July 8. She was bumped at the start of Saratoga's Test in her last start Aug. 5 and was never a factor. She's won three of nine in her career with earnings of $176,482 after claiming the $66,540 winner's share Saturday.

"She always has an excuse, something always happens," said winning trainer Robert Barbara. "(In the Prioress), she lost her right-front shoe. At Saratoga, she jumped out of the gate and hit the back of the gate with her ankle and she had a big hematoma. We've tried to take our time with her. The older she's getting, the better she is getting in the mind. She's always been a headache for everybody, but finally, she's come into hand. Today, she was perfect and everything went right."

A careful Gomez rode Win McCool, who carried 114 pounds to victory, for the first time.

"As I tried to slow her down, she started fighting me a little bit," Gomez said. "I just pitched the reins to her and said, `Go ahead, do what you're going to do.' I guess she has a tendency to get out a little bit; she tried me a couple of times for a jump or two. Down the lane, she straightened away and lugged in a couple of steps. She went ahead and kicked on."

Win McCool, who is out of the Crafty Prospector mare Win Crafty Lady, paid $33.40, $15 and $8.70 while topping a $222 exacta. Great Intentions, who lost for the first time in three starts at Belmont, returned $7.40 and $5. The Argentine-bred Stormy Kiss, carrying top weight of 118 pounds, was $4.20 to show.

For All We Know struggled home fifth in her first start in seven months, followed by Indian Flare, Ever Elusive and Pretty Imposing. Grecian Lover scratched.

Win McCool will likely run back in the $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) at 6 1/2 furlongs on Oct. 8.

(Chart, Equibase)